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  • An opulent city, a girl on fire and some ravenous “mutts.”

    Based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, The Hunger Games was one of the biggest box office hits on 2012, bringing in nearly $700 million worldwide. The Lionsgate film tells the story of a dystopian future civilization whose ruling class keeps their citizens entertained through an annual life or death contest broadcast on live television.

    Rising Sun Pictures created more than 200 visual effects shots for the film, including a complete CG rendering of Capitol, the large and magnificent central city of Panem. The team also produced effects for the “fire dress” and “fire wings” scenes, the latter a dazzling moment where Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) sprouts flaming wings.

    RSP artists visited the set in North Carolina in order to work with Director Gary Ross and VFX Supervisor Sheena Duggal on storyboarding, conceptual design, visual effects planning and execution. The actual visual effects work was completed at RSP’s Adelaide Studio by a team of more than 100 artists.

    Ross, in his first directorial effort since the 2003 hit Seabiscuit, took a hands-on approach with the design and execution of the visual effects. “He talked a lot about his work on The Tales of Desperaux (where he was the screenwriter),” recalls RSP visual effects supervisor John Dietz. “He was very interested in the lighting, surfacing and weight of the animation.

    “He framed his scene lighting comments on the live action lighting and his experience on set. He wanted to use real-world references for all of the CG and effects. Tonally, he was very into cinema verite and that comes through in the camerawork evident in the final film.”

    Capitol first appears in a scene where the Tributes are introduced to the citizens of Panem. RSP designed and produced the entire city and its environs, as well as crowds of people seen in a giant sports stadium. Artists worked from concept art, provided by the production, and in line with the film’s overall production design. The CG city itself was augmented by digital matte paintings, lighting and atmospheric effects. For the crowd elements, actors were shot against blue screen and placed in featured rows. More distant individuals were produced digitally via Massive software.

    “We did not have to have to match any live action sets very closely as they were largely self-contained and didn’t lead into the overarching Capitol City design we were creating,” says Dietz. “We found a good tone for the architecture that told the story of the Capitol and its people. We then used architectural elements that pushed that tone in all the individual shots.”

    RSP’s “fire wings” are part of one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Katniss and her partner Peeta are riding in a chariot past cheering crowds when wing-like flames appear behind them. Ross had very specific ideas for how those wings should attach to the characters’ bodies and react to wind and other environmental factors.  “We found a really good look for the wings right away,” notes Dietz. “Then it came down to a lot of specific work for each shot. Most of the work went into the dynamic of the fire movement, which depended on how the chariot and dress were moving.”

    RSP’s success with the wings led to its being awarded a similar fire dress shot from later in the film. That work came together quickly. “We were able to use the same set-ups as the wings with some extra tracking work and a few creative tweaks,” notes Dietz.

    RSP was also charged with creating the Muttations, terrifying dog-like creatures that Gamemakers unleash in the final moments of the Games. Character animators developed movement for the performances, before passing the scene to Character Technical Directors to apply muscle and skin simulations. Fur was then added along with natural environmental interactions, with blood and saliva applied as finishing touches. The characters were lit and rendered using HDRI reference shot on location, and creative direction from Ross and Duggal. All of this information was used to create a photorealistic composite so that the computer-generated elements could be easily integrated with footage from the set.

    “The rigging and animation were pretty standard for a quadruped,” observes Dietz.  “The
    main issue with the Muttations was how ‘human’ to make their design and performance.  In the book, former Tributes become Muttations and those humans can be recognized in the creatures.  The more humanlike you make the Muttations, the more the storytelling becomes supernatural. By contrast, if you make them more doglike, it takes the story into a more realistic realm. The challenge was finding the right balance.”

    Such design issues were the central aspect of the project according to Dietz. “The design of Capitol and the Mutations involved really big issues and we worked to address them from pre-production through to the end of shot execution,” he says. “Executing design while working on shots makes any show challenging.”

    Dietz adds that he is proud of the results. “We all knew how successful this film was likely to be and that added to the pressure to deliver top quality effects,” he says. “We needed to go above and beyond normal demands for a film with these resources.  Everyone at RSP did an incredible job.”

    An opulent city, a girl on fire and some ravenous “mutts.”

    Based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, The Hunger Games was one of the biggest box office hits on 2012, bringing in nearly $700 million worldwide. The Lionsgate film tells the story of a dystopian future civilization whose ruling class keeps their citizens entertained through an annual life or death contest broadcast on live television.

    Rising Sun Pictures created more than 200 visual effects shots for the film, including a complete CG rendering of Capitol, the large and magnificent central city of Panem. The team also produced effects for the “fire dress” and “fire wings” scenes, the latter a dazzling moment where Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) sprouts flaming wings.

    RSP artists visited the set in North Carolina in order to work with Director Gary Ross and VFX Supervisor Sheena Duggal on storyboarding, conceptual design, visual effects planning and execution. The actual visual effects work was completed at RSP’s Adelaide Studio by a team of more than 100 artists.

    Ross, in his first directorial effort since the 2003 hit Seabiscuit, took a hands-on approach with the design and execution of the visual effects. “He talked a lot about his work on The Tales of Desperaux (where he was the screenwriter),” recalls RSP visual effects supervisor John Dietz. “He was very interested in the lighting, surfacing and weight of the animation.

    “He framed his scene lighting comments on the live action lighting and his experience on set. He wanted to use real-world references for all of the CG and effects. Tonally, he was very into cinema verite and that comes through in the camerawork evident in the final film.”

    Capitol first appears in a scene where the Tributes are introduced to the citizens of Panem. RSP designed and produced the entire city and its environs, as well as crowds of people seen in a giant sports stadium. Artists worked from concept art, provided by the production, and in line with the film’s overall production design. The CG city itself was augmented by digital matte paintings, lighting and atmospheric effects. For the crowd elements, actors were shot against blue screen and placed in featured rows. More distant individuals were produced digitally via Massive software.

    “We did not have to have to match any live action sets very closely as they were largely self-contained and didn’t lead into the overarching Capitol City design we were creating,” says Dietz. “We found a good tone for the architecture that told the story of the Capitol and its people. We then used architectural elements that pushed that tone in all the individual shots.”

    RSP’s “fire wings” are part of one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Katniss and her partner Peeta are riding in a chariot past cheering crowds when wing-like flames appear behind them. Ross had very specific ideas for how those wings should attach to the characters’ bodies and react to wind and other environmental factors.  “We found a really good look for the wings right away,” notes Dietz. “Then it came down to a lot of specific work for each shot. Most of the work went into the dynamic of the fire movement, which depended on how the chariot and dress were moving.”

    RSP’s success with the wings led to its being awarded a similar fire dress shot from later in the film. That work came together quickly. “We were able to use the same set-ups as the wings with some extra tracking work and a few creative tweaks,” notes Dietz.

    RSP was also charged with creating the Muttations, terrifying dog-like creatures that Gamemakers unleash in the final moments of the Games. Character animators developed movement for the performances, before passing the scene to Character Technical Directors to apply muscle and skin simulations. Fur was then added along with natural environmental interactions, with blood and saliva applied as finishing touches. The characters were lit and rendered using HDRI reference shot on location, and creative direction from Ross and Duggal. All of this information was used to create a photorealistic composite so that the computer-generated elements could be easily integrated with footage from the set.

    “The rigging and animation were pretty standard for a quadruped,” observes Dietz.  “The
    main issue with the Muttations was how ‘human’ to make their design and performance.  In the book, former Tributes become Muttations and those humans can be recognized in the creatures.  The more humanlike you make the Muttations, the more the storytelling becomes supernatural. By contrast, if you make them more doglike, it takes the story into a more realistic realm. The challenge was finding the right balance.”

    Such design issues were the central aspect of the project according to Dietz. “The design of Capitol and the Mutations involved really big issues and we worked to address them from pre-production through to the end of shot execution,” he says. “Executing design while working on shots makes any show challenging.”

    Dietz adds that he is proud of the results. “We all knew how successful this film was likely to be and that added to the pressure to deliver top quality effects,” he says. “We needed to go above and beyond normal demands for a film with these resources.  Everyone at RSP did an incredible job.”

    Credits & Crew
    Director:
    Gary Ross
    VFX Producer:
    Chantal Feghali
    VFX Supervisor:
    Sheena Duggal
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Abdullah Ecirli Adam Paschke Adam Potter Alana Aranki Alex Egan Alex Meddick Alexandra Coble Amy Nugent Amy Sendon Andrei Allerborn Andrew Butler Andrew Graham Andrew Palmer Anna Ivanova Annabelle Kent Anouchka Farrenc Anthony Rizzo Anto Bond Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Ben Roberts Benjamin McEwan Brett Purmal Bronson Mathews Campbell McGrouther Carlos Fuensalida Catalin Niculescu Christophe Bernaud Christopher King Curtis Edwards Damien Thaller Daniel Pozo Daniel Thompson Daniel Wills Dennis Jones Donna Lanasa Emma Clifton Eric Bates Eric Gambini Florent Revel Frank Sabia Gabriel Roccisano Galder Apraiz Garrett Fry Gemma James George Oliver Gina Chuang Graham Ashworth Heath Baker Helen Clare Hyemee Choi Ilaria Ragusa Ivaylo Andonov James Roberts Jared Embley Jason Madigan Jeremy Kelly-Bakker Jeremy Yeokhoo Jerry Hall Jesse Balodis Joe Churchill John Dietz John VanDerZalm Joseph Creswell Juan Lampe Karl Cizakowski Katysha Seng Kenneth Wiatrak Kenny Yong Kevin Campbell Kieran Shepherd Kim Tobin Krystal Delany Levon Hudson Makoto Hatanaka Malcolm Wright Mark Day Mark Evans Mark Kennedy Mark Norrie Mark Story Mathew Thomas Matthew Shaw Mauricio Valderrama Michael Dikih Michael Karp Ming Tan Morgan Read Na Song Nandan Phansalkar Natalie Millar Nathan Jones Nicholas Pill Nick Cattell Nicole Ashford Nikki Hayley-Hughes Oliver Arnold Owen Carroll Pallav Sharma Paris Downes Paul Taylor Pete O'Connell Premamurti Paetsch Randy Vellacott Ray Leung Rebecca Veitch Richard Thwaites Robert Cvengros Robert Rowles Ryan Grobins Salauddin Kazi Samuel Baker Samuel Norman Scott Novak Sean Lahiff Sebastian Bommersheim Shamus Baker Shane Berry Simon Dye Simon Herden Simon Malessa Simon Westlake Spyro Polymiadis Stephan Remstedt Steve Cypreos Suchitra Keshri Susan Immonen Ted Helmers Tim Mackintosh Timmy Lundin Timothy Bowman Titus Majerski Toby Angwin Tony Thorne Tyler Bartley Victor Glushchenko Vincent Thomas Virginia Wilson Wei Ning
    Director:
    Gary Ross
    VFX Producer:
    Chantal Feghali
    VFX Supervisor:
    Sheena Duggal
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Abdullah Ecirli Adam Paschke Adam Potter Alana Aranki Alex Egan Alex Meddick Alexandra Coble Amy Nugent Amy Sendon Andrei Allerborn Andrew Butler Andrew Graham Andrew Palmer Anna Ivanova Annabelle Kent Anouchka Farrenc Anthony Rizzo Anto Bond Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Ben Roberts Benjamin McEwan Brett Purmal Bronson Mathews Campbell McGrouther Carlos Fuensalida Catalin Niculescu Christophe Bernaud Christopher King Curtis Edwards Damien Thaller Daniel Pozo Daniel Thompson Daniel Wills Dennis Jones Donna Lanasa Emma Clifton Eric Bates Eric Gambini Florent Revel Frank Sabia Gabriel Roccisano Galder Apraiz Garrett Fry Gemma James George Oliver Gina Chuang Graham Ashworth Heath Baker Helen Clare Hyemee Choi Ilaria Ragusa Ivaylo Andonov James Roberts Jared Embley Jason Madigan Jeremy Kelly-Bakker Jeremy Yeokhoo Jerry Hall Jesse Balodis Joe Churchill John Dietz John VanDerZalm Joseph Creswell Juan Lampe Karl Cizakowski Katysha Seng Kenneth Wiatrak Kenny Yong Kevin Campbell Kieran Shepherd Kim Tobin Krystal Delany Levon Hudson Makoto Hatanaka Malcolm Wright Mark Day Mark Evans Mark Kennedy Mark Norrie Mark Story Mathew Thomas Matthew Shaw Mauricio Valderrama Michael Dikih Michael Karp Ming Tan Morgan Read Na Song Nandan Phansalkar Natalie Millar Nathan Jones Nicholas Pill Nick Cattell Nicole Ashford Nikki Hayley-Hughes Oliver Arnold Owen Carroll Pallav Sharma Paris Downes Paul Taylor Pete O'Connell Premamurti Paetsch Randy Vellacott Ray Leung Rebecca Veitch Richard Thwaites Robert Cvengros Robert Rowles Ryan Grobins Salauddin Kazi Samuel Baker Samuel Norman Scott Novak Sean Lahiff Sebastian Bommersheim Shamus Baker Shane Berry Simon Dye Simon Herden Simon Malessa Simon Westlake Spyro Polymiadis Stephan Remstedt Steve Cypreos Suchitra Keshri Susan Immonen Ted Helmers Tim Mackintosh Timmy Lundin Timothy Bowman Titus Majerski Toby Angwin Tony Thorne Tyler Bartley Victor Glushchenko Vincent Thomas Virginia Wilson Wei Ning

    The Real Macaw was the first feature film worked on by RSP.
    Contact us:

    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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    Contact us:

    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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